2017 Wray Jackson Smith Scholarship

Support for Work Towards a Career in Government Statistics

Apply by April 1, 2017!

The Wray Jackson Smith Scholarship (WJSS) was created to honor the memory of a founding member of the GSS and a long-time contributor to federal statistics. Dr. Smith’s federal career spanned four decades and included positions in the Office of Economic Opportunity, where he was responsible for the operational start-up of the Job Corps and evaluation of manpower development programs; the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation in what was then the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, where he oversaw the policy research data center and directed the Income Survey Development Program (the predecessor to the Survey of Income and Program Participation); and the Energy Information Administration, U.S. Department of Energy, where he directed energy modeling and data systems development and provided oversight of the Department’s surveys of energy consumption in multiple sectors. After retiring from the federal government in 1983, Dr. Smith continued to play a role in federal statistics from the private sector, first as a visiting senior fellow at Mathematica Policy Research and then at Synectics for Management Decisions, Inc., before founding Harris-Smith Research, an operations research/management science consulting group, with Carl Harris. In 1997 Dr. Smith established the independent, nonprofit Harris-Smith Institutes to provide statistical research and a range of other services to other nonprofit organizations and governmental entities. He served as president of the organization until his death at the age of 75, in May 2000.

The WJSS was established by the GSS in 2001, with several other organizations recognized as Founding Sponsors. These include the Social Statistics Section (SSS) of ASA, which joined the GSS in 2005 as a primary sponsor of the award; the Caucus for Women in Statistics; the Washington Statistical Society; and both Mathematica and Synectics. In addition, upon its disbandment in 2002, The Harris-Smith Institutes donated a substantial sum to the scholarship fund, which achieved a milestone in 2004 by reaching $25,000, sufficient to establish an endowment through the ASA.

The WJSS is intended to encourage young statisticians to consider a career in government service. The WJSS Award provides funding of $1,000 to be used in ways that will advance the recipient’s exposure to or experience with the application of statistics to problems relevant to any level of government. Past winners have used their awards to attend the Joint Statistical Meetings or other professional conferences; to take short courses or college classes on topics related to data analysis, measurement, or data quality; and to support aspects of their continued public policy research. Funds may be used for travel, board, tuition or registration fees, or for the purchase of books, software, data sets, or other supporting materials for research projects.

The WJSS is targeted at students and others early in their careers who show an interest in government statistics. Applicants must have a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent level of education. Membership in the GSS, SSS, or the ASA is not required. Applicants are asked to submit a proposal for the activity to be funded and to complete an application form (found on the GSS website here.) and provide two letters of recommendation.

Materials should be emailed to Jenny Guarino: jenny.guarino@dot.gov

Alternatively, applications can be mailed to:

Jenny Guarino
US Department of Transportation
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
1200 New Jersey Ave S.E.
Washington, DC 20590

The application deadline for this year’s award is April 1, 2017.

Members of the 2017 Wray Jackson Smith Scholarship Committee are:

Jenny Guarino (Chair), US Department of Transportation
Dudley Poston, Texas A&M University
Kevin Konty, NYC Department of Health

Applications will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  *   Relevance of the proposed activity to government statistics,
  *   Quality of the proposed activity,
  *   Innovation/ingenuity of the proposed project,
  *   Feasibility of completion of the activity,
  *   The applicant’s career stage,
  *   and past performance as reflected in the letters of recommendation.

 The award winner will be announced in May of 2017. All applicants will be notified by e-mail.